Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mealtime at Baby Corner

Baby Corner is a section in each of the two restaurants, Hispaniola and Samana, for GMs (guests) with young children. In addition to regular table seating, a number of high chairs are readily available, and parents have access right there to a small refrigerator filled with a variety of jarred baby foods and milk; a blender; a microwave; a bottle warmer; and plastic bowls and plates, as well as standard utensils and lots of napkins. Note that GMs with children are by no means required to sit in Baby Corner; rather, the Baby Corner sections are provided as a convenience for families, and also as a courtesy to other diners if your little one is really fussy. High chairs are boosters are also available for other parts of the restaurants if you choose not to sit in the Baby Corner section.

A GO is often present in the Baby Corner - he/she can answer questions you may have about the facilities, generally assist or find things you need, and they can help watch and/or distract your child if necessary. (Rose was a wonderful Baby Corner 'animateur' in '08 -- it's great when someone else can bring out a smile in your child!)

We ate some meals in the Baby Corner in the Samana restaurant when our child was 15 months. We found it a relaxing option, and would definitely recommend, particularly if you know your child is tired, or going through a messy eating stage.

Assuming our 15 month old was up to it, we did try to eat at least one meal a day in the main parts of Hispaniola - she enjoyed meeting other GMs as well, and frankly did a better job eating when others were present. Amazingly, other GMs actually did come and sit with us even though we had a small child!

Things you may want to bring if your child is still in the high chair stage:
__Disposable bibs or a plastic/rubber bib that rinses easily (avoid work on vacation washing bibs - and you won't want a regular bib with food particles on it in your room, as it may attract bugs)
__Child-size utensils for baby/toddler (did not find these in '08 or '09)
__1-2 small, child-size plastic bowls (the plastic bowls provided are more like adult size cereal bowls)
__Handiwipes
__Disinfectant wipes for high chairs (the high chairs were often sticky)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

GOs: Language & Badges

The staff, or G.O.s, at Punta Cana - as with most G.O.s at other Club Meds - are multilingual: at Punta Cana, the GOs predominantly speak English, French, Spanish, and even some Portuguese and Italian (and possibly other languages). GMs (Club Med guests) who only speak one language should not feel intimidated. GOs are accustomed to interacting with guests from all over the world. For example, it's possible to take a completely bilingual windsurfing lesson, where the instructor casually moves between two languages while keeping everyone engaged.

How can you tell who speaks which languages? Look at the GO's name badge/nametag. Each badge features a name, as well as the flags of the countries for the languages that that GO speaks. Here's an example, courtesy of Tito, who livens up the main bar. Be sure to say hi if you see him!

From this badge, you can tell that Tito speaks French, Spanish, and English. The GOs you'll meet at the Mini Club, Petit Club, and Baby Club will all have badges like this, so keep your eyes open when you introduce yourself at drop-off. If you have questions, it's also helpful to look at the badge to gauge if you have the right audience for your concern.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Travel with Kids

Worried about just getting to Punta Cana with your kids? The good thing is that, once you get there, the ground transfer from the airport is fast - only 10 minutes on local roads.

Don't forget to review
TSA guidelines for travel prior to your departure to be up to date on any changes in procedures or restrictions that you should be aware of in relation to your family flight planning (things can change quite quickly, as we all know). TSA also maintains a blog, which sometimes features useful information if you are planning an upcoming trip.

To cope with flying with children, I highly recommend the following Delicious Baby posts on
- Flying with babies, toddlers, and kids
- 10 tips for keeping a child busy on a plane
- Travel toys (recommendations by age range)

Thanks, Debbie!